Day 32 – Who is Serving Who?
While the younger son is addicted to pleasures and sinful activities, the elder son has clinged to status and personal achievements and is obsessed with following rules. Both are forms of slavery.
As the younger son took off to a distant country, the elder son lives in his own distant country even though he is physically home with his father. Both are wandering and are indeed very distant from the father's heart. Both are blinded and suffering from hardened hearts that prevent them from seeing and feeling their father's love. So, while it seems that only the younger son has forgone his identity as his father’s son, the elder son has also given up his identity by perceiving his father as the master of his own slavery.
Just as the younger son hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine (Luke 15:15), the elder son has hired himself out to his imaginary slave master, his father. Sadly, all three main characters of this parable suffer immensely because of the flawed mindsets, attitudes, behaviours and actions of the two sons. This parable has revealed the costly impact of a dysfunctional and broken family. The biggest victim is the father, who has essentially lost both of his sons, while he attempts to mediate between them. Although both sons are physically alive, they are spiritually dead.
When the elder son refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him.
The father bent over backwards to plead with his son. His love for his son caused him to do anything he could to relate to his son and to restore the trust between them. Can you imagine how painful the father feels, seeing the enmity that divides his two beloved sons? Hastened to come out to check on his elder son, the father spoke from his heart to explain the situation to alleviate his son’s anger. With such animosity toward his brother, the elder son would need a long time for his frustrations to subside. We can imagine how long it would take the father to show empathy to his son and to appeal to him to reconcile with his brother. Jesus did not tell us the ending of the story, but that is beside the point.
The important message to us is that our PRIDE causes troubles not only for us, but for our Heavenly Father. He has to do a lot of work behind the scene to take care of the mess and mend the brokenness we have caused, as well as to smoothen situations and even to mediate between people for us. All this mess is a direct result of our abusing of the freedom gifted to us by God.
It is God who has worked miracles while we naively believe that things are under our control. It is as though God has become our servant as He helps us to take care of the things we cannot handle in life.
Can we begin to appreciate this God who lets nothing separate us from His love?
If someone has sinned against you, can you adopt the father's approach rather than the elder son's approach in treating them?
Witnessing how the father mediated between the two sons, do You believe that God's love for you is personal and attentive?
I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen!
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.